The Dead Magician

Evelin E. Sullivan, Author Dalkey Archive Press $19.95 (315p) ISBN 978-0-916583-39-2
Sullivan's first novel takes form in the biography of Gregory Bodamien, a famous American writer, as written by Charles Butler, an academician who appends to it Bodamien's unfinished last manuscript. Vain, nosy and untalented, Butler is less interested in Bodamien's literary work than in psychologizing about why Bodamien murdered his brother Adam. This apparently is the author's interest too, but exploring the situation through the idiosyncrasies of her leading characters requires a stylistic wit she has yet to command. What is meant to be the cause of much humor--the plodding, inept academician narrating the story of a writer who rides roughshod through life serving only art--is in itself banal. Parody is a treacherous form: readers may be haunted by Nabokov's Pale Fire , which made hilarious use of similar material. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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